Crimson Flyboy

The Origin of Rights

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I am new to philosophy. I also have always taken it for granted that I own myself. I have been debating some Catholics and have trouble putting together a proper argument for the objective existence or rights and self ownership. This is the response I gave:

"So, what is a right? Rights deal with actions. A right is a freedom of action. I have a fundamental right, the right to life; all other rights derive from this fundamental right. I have a right to pursue food and water. I do not have the right to steal food and water from another, for this action would infringe upon the right to property of the other.

I have not been able to explain the origin of rights though. From where do they derive, why does a man have them. How would y'all answer these questions?

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I am new to philosophy. I also have always taken it for granted that I own myself. I have been debating some Catholics and have trouble putting together a proper argument for the objective existence or rights and self ownership. This is the response I gave:

"So, what is a right? Rights deal with actions. A right is a freedom of action. I have a fundamental right, the right to life; all other rights derive from this fundamental right. I have a right to pursue food and water. I do not have the right to steal food and water from another, for this action would infringe upon the right to property of the other.

I have not been able to explain the origin of rights though. From where do they derive, why does a man have them. How would y'all answer these questions?

They lie in the nature of man itself. Nature requires he eat in order to survive, therefor he has the natural right to find food. Nature requires he not be exposed to extreme weather, therefor he has a natural right to seek shelter. Apply this to all the requirements of his nature, and you see one is born with these natural rights. They are not handed out. To say otherwise would demand an explanation of a higher order. Since no one had anything to do with his arrival on earth, where would the challenge to natural rights come from? Religion has it's own answer, that rights are handed down by deity, but if we are to be grounded by reason, that won't do.

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Ayn Rand said " A right is that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission."

That is the definition that also gives the foundation of rights. To deny a right to action, means someone claims the authority to hand out permissions. So, the real question is: Where does the "right" to deny rights, come from? After all, it is only men who can violate rights.

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I really like Miss Rand's statement that the only fundamental right is the right to life, and that all other rights stem from that right. I take that as a self explanatory statement that no one could really argue with while staying intellectually honest.

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